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Pound edges up against dollar but outlook still gloomy

The pound rebounded from record lows on Tuesday. Photo: Matt Cardy/Getty
The pound rebounded from record lows on Tuesday. Photo: Matt Cardy/Getty

Some calm has returned to markets as the pound rebounds after hitting the lowest level since decimalisation in 1971 on Monday, but the outlook is still gloomy.

Despite stopping short of announcing a rate rise, the Bank of England's (BoE) Andrew Bailey has failed to convince markets that he can avoid an emergency meeting after the pound slumped to a record low.

Read more: Why has the pound fallen and what does this mean for you?

In a statement issued on Monday evening, the Bank governor insisted that although Threadneedle Street was "monitoring developments in financial markets very closely," the central bank does not expect to take any action until its next scheduled meeting in November.

The intervention sparked a further slump in the currency, sending it back down by 1.7% below $1.07.

However it has since pushed to $1.08 in noon trade on Tuesday, after Bank of England chief economist Huw Pill signalled a "significant" monetary policy response to shore up the currency and calm market turmoil.

But sterling isn't out of the woods just yet. Traders are betting the pound will slide further, with more than a 40% chance of it hitting parity with the greenback by the end of the year.

And bank analysts at Morgan Stanley (MS) and Nomura (NMR) said they expect it to touch or cross that level.

"I think it's going to get worse unfortunately," Jordan Rochester, a strategist at Nomura, told Bloomberg. "I don't want it to be worse. This is the country I earn my money in."

Read more: Pound run: BoE chief economist signals 'significant monetary response'

Hedge fund manager Crispin Odey, who is known for shorting sterling, also believes the worst isn't over for the British currency.

The money manager said it will take a long time for Britain to bring inflation under control and predicted that the BoE is unlikely to roll out emergency interest rate rises.

"That will be too much of a panic," the tycoon told Bloomberg. "I think sterling is still quite vulnerable and we have to see how it goes."

Parity with the US dollar is not the only struggle facing the pound, some experts think it will reach less than €1, it was trading at €1.1 against the common currency (GBPEUR=X) at the time of writing.

Former US Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers, who blasted the UK government and Bank of England for their lack of credibility, labelled last week's mini-budget "utterly irresponsible".

"The magnitude of Britain’s trade current account deficit underscores the seriousness of its challenges," he said in a Twitter thread. "My guess is that pound will find its way below parity with both the dollar and euro."

Read more: FTSE 100 opens higher as pound rebounds from record low

Susannah Streeter, senior investment and markets analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown, said: "The impact of Kwasi Kwarteng’s budget shock is still stark, as the pound is still 5% lower than it was on Thursday, despite having made up some ground from the record lows of yesterday.

"Rates rises alone won’t be enough to shore up sterling significantly, given that other central banks are doing the same. Only a U-turn in the slash and spend policies is likely to significantly restore optimism in the UK, but the Truss administration is digging in its heels."

Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng will meet asset managers, pension funds and insurers later on Tuesday to discuss his plans for financial services deregulation.

BlackRock (BLK), JP Morgan (JPM) and Aviva (AV.L) are among those expected to attend the meeting.

Watch: Bank says it will ‘not hesitate’ to intervene over market turmoil